Citrus trees, including lemons, limes, and oranges, are some of the most common landscape fruit trees in California, Arizona, and Texas. Citrus has been cultivated across the globe since ancient times, and was first introduced to North America in Florida by Spanish conquistadors.
Culture for Citrus
Performs best on well-drained, slightly acidic soils with good organic matter. Citrus trees are nutrient intensive and often show foliar symptoms of nitrogen deficiency. Most citrus is susceptible to freeze damage, but some hardy varieties exist that can tolerate some freezing.
Concerns about Citrus
Two insect pests threaten the North American citrus industry and should be treated immediately when detected in landscape plants. The citrus leafminer is the larva of a small moth that disfigures foliage. The Asian citrus psyllid is a small sucking insect that spreads the ‘citrus greening’ disease which has devastated citrus production in Florida. Citrus is also susceptible to Phytophthora root and crown rot. Aphid and scale insect infestations also commonly damage citrus.
Management Practices for Citrus
If either leafminer or psyllid is observed, plants should be treated systemically to manage these pests. In areas where citrus greening disease is already present, trees should be treated regardless of observed infestations. Where possible, plants should be covered when frost is expected to prevent freezing damage. Fertilize annually according to soil analysis. In wet or poorly drained soils, Phytophthora treatments should be applied to prevent root disease.